The application of ice or cold packs are a very common treatments used to manage an acute injury or to help with muscle recovery. Originally it was believed that ice therapy reduced pain, swelling and helped with recovery from injury. However, recent studies have challenged the original theories behind the benefits.
How does ice work and how helpful is it?
Ice applied to the skin slows and reduces the activity of the nerves in the area, which then decreases the pain sensation. Several studies have found that following a soft tissue injury, such as a hamstring strain, or joint replacement surgery the use of ice significantly reduced pain. However, it is important to note that these studies found that function and recovery were not improved.
In the first few days after joint replacement surgery it is crucial to improve range of movement at the joint. Ice therapy in conjunction with pain medication is used to allow for range of motion exercises to be completed with minimal pain.
The theory behind using ice therapy for swelling is that the cold temperature causes our blood vessels to constrict, resulting in reduced blood flow to the region. New evidence has found that the cold does not penetrate deep enough for this effect to occur and therefore ice does not reduce swelling.
More effective ways to reduce swelling include:
Compression - Compression bandaging or taping to prevent the swelling from accumulating.
Elevation - Positioning the injured area raised up to allow the excess fluid to drain with gravity.
Cold Water Immersion
Athletes often use cold water immersion to assist with muscle recovery during periods of intense competition. Immersion in cold or iced water causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and metabolism, as well as increasing the amount of air we expire. However, the role of these in recovery are still unknown. While it is thought that these factors may help flush out toxins in the muscles that are caused by intense exercise, there is no evidence to support this. There is some evidence that cold water immersion reduces delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and reduces athletes perception of general fatigue and leg soreness.
Risks of Using Ice Therapy
There are risks you need to be aware of when using ice therapy. When placing ice on the skin, there is potential for an ice burn. This is more likely to occur with direct contact on the skin for an extended period. For this reason, avoid the ice being in direct skin contact (use a thin towel in between) and do not apply for longer than 20 minutes at one time.
When using cold water immersion, be aware that a significant change in body temperature can cause shock in some people. Athletes should be supervised at all times by someone with first aid qualifications to ensure that any symptoms of shock can be dealt with immediately. Shock if left untreated can be life threatening.
Overall, ice therapy and cold water immersion may be useful for reducing pain and there are relatively low risks associated with its application. However, elevation and compression are more effective to manage swelling.
The application of ice, compression and elevation are just the initial phase of injury management. To ensure return to full function, appropriate assessment, treatment and rehabilitation is essential.
If you need treatment for an injury or advice on any of the above, please do not hesitate to call us to book an appointment on 9970 7982, or alternatively book online at beachlifephysio.com.
Adie, S., Kwan, A., Naylor, J., Harris, I. and Mittal, R. (2012) Cryotherapy following a total knee replacement, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Bleakley, C. and Davison G. (2010) What is the biochemical and physiological rationale for using cold-water immersion in sports recovery? A systematic review, British Journal Sports Medicine, 44(3): 179-187.
Crystal, N., Townson, D., Cook, S., LaRoche, D. (2013), Effect of cryotherapy on muscle recovery and inflammation following a bout of damaging exercise, European Journal of Applied Physiology.
Kullenberg, B., Ylipää, S., Söderlund, K. and Resch S. (2006) Postoperative Cryotherapy After Total Knee Arthoplasty: A Prospective Study of 86 Patients, The Journal of Arthroplasty, 21(8), 1175-1179
Rowsell, G., Coutts, A., Reaburn, P. and Hill-Haas, S. (2009) Effects of cold-water immersion on physical performance between successive matches in high-performance junior male soccer players, Journal Sports Science, 27(6): 565-73.
Nearly all of us have experienced headaches. Headaches are the most common neurological disorder with up to 1 adult in 20 experiencing one every day. When they occur repeatedly, they are a symptom of a headache disorder, which are painful and disabling.
Common types of headaches
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and can be caused by a number of factors, including stress, fatigue, emotional upsets as well as poor posture or jaw clenching.
The symptoms of tension headaches include a constant tight, heavy or pressing sensation around the head, generalised and diffuse pain. The pain is usually felt on both sides of the head.
Cervicogenic headaches stem from the uppermost joints of the cervical spine (neck). If these joints have extra load through for example from poor posture they can get aggravated or stiff and cause headaches. Other neck disorders such as whiplash or osteoarthritis may also be a cause for these headaches.
The symptoms of cervigogenic headaches are often one sides and include reduced neck movement or increased stiffness, pain that is usually non throbbing or radiating and may begin just as a pain or heaviness in the neck.
Migraines affect at least 1 in 7 adults. They do not have a single, simple cause. Factors vary from person to person and there is need for further research into why they occur. Some triggers include hormonal changes, genetics, stress, medications and altered sleeping patterns.
The symptoms of migraine headaches include a throbbing or pulsating intense pain, with sensitivity to light or noise and sometimes comes with nausea or vomiting.
But if it’s my neck, why is there pain in my head?
The nerves in the upper neck interact with the sensory nerves that supply the neck and face such that it allows for a two way flow of painful sensations. Thus pain and reduced mobility in the neck is felt in the head.
What can BeachLife Physiotherapy do to help?
Physiotherapy can reduce the severity and frequency of headaches and also assist in long term management to reduce frequency and intensity of flare ups. This will be achieved through:
If you experience headaches or need advice on any of the above, please do not hesitate to call us to book an appointment on 9970 7982, or alternatively book online at beachlifephysio.com.
Biondi, D.M. (2005) Cervicogenic Headache: A Review of Diagnostic and Treatment Strategies, The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, vol. 105, pp. 16S-22S.
Headache Australia (2018) Headache Types: Tension-type Headache, accessed 7/3/2018, http://headacheaustralia.org.au/headachetypes/tension-type-headache/.
World Health Organisation (2018) ‘How common are headaches?’ accessed 7/3/2018. http://www.who.int/features/qa/25/en/
The start of the winter sports season is fast approaching! Everyone is busy sorting out new uniforms and checking whether their shoes fit; but many of us are not doing anything to prepare our bodies.
Many sports injuries are a result of our bodies not having adequate strength, endurance, coordination or mobility to cope with the activities and sports we participate in. You wouldn't run a marathon without completing a training program, so why wouldn’t you train to run up and down a field for weekend sport? By doing little or no pre-season preparation, you are living up to the adage 'if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail'.
Our muscles, joints and soft tissues can manage a certain amount of load before damage occurs. This is individual and depends on the loads you have exposed yourself to in the past. For example, if you can normally comfortably run 2 km and do this regularly, you know that you can safely do up to 2 km without risking injury. If you don’t exercise regularly and spend much of your week sitting, then participating in sports requires so much more than your average day. For example, the average distance run in a game is:
Due to the added strain on the body you are more likely to injure yourself if unprepared. The common injuries we see in our clinic in the first few months after winter sports start are hamstring tears, Achilles tendinopathy, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, lower back pain, rotator cuff tendinopathies and patella femoral pain syndromes. All of these will occur if your muscles aren’t strong, long or coordinated enough to cope with the sport you participate in.
Training over the pre-season will allow your body to adapt to an increased load and prepare your body for the demands of your sport in the upcoming season. This will not only decrease your risk of injury but will also make you a better player!
How Can You Prepare?
Increase endurance - The majority of winter sports require you to run on and off for prolonged periods. Overuse injuries are caused by increasing your load too much too quickly, with your body unable to keep up! Improving your endurance will decrease the risk. Start building endurance by going for regular runs. Start with a short distance or time and gradually add a small amount until you can run comfortably for the duration of what your sport requires.
Strengthen your core - A strong core is essential for all sports, for lower back health and increased stability and balance. Pilates is a very good way at learning to incorporate your core with everyday movements.
General strengthening – We all have our limits as to what our muscles can handle. For rugby players, the strength needed to go into a tackle can be 5-7 times the strength you would use in your daily activities. To lower your risk of injury, determine the strength that your sport requires and gradually build your training up to this.
Improve proprioception and coordination – During sport, or even doing simple activities such as walking, your brain continually processes sensory information – this is called proprioception. When the ability to interpret and integrate this information into actions is decreased, we are at an increased risk of injury. To help prevent this declining, especially after the age of 25, it is important to continually practice balance and coordination. Start your balance exercises with something as simple as standing on one foot and progress from there.
Increase flexibility – Movements in sport often require you to go to the end of range available at a joint. If your muscles are short and now allowing much movement, you risk an injury to the muscles or joints being over stretched, especially with quick or forceful movements. Stretching the hamstrings will decrease the chances of getting a hamstring muscle tear and keeping your back mobile will decrease the chances of an unusual position in a tackle resulting in pain and injury. For further information on stretching, read our blog titled ‘Stretching 101’.
If you play a winter sport and need advice on any of the above please do not hesitate to book an appointment with us.
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Miller T (2013) Which sports run the most? Stats on football, basketball, soccer and tennis show who burn the most shoe leather, New York Daily News, April 4.
The squat is a simple movement, but requires complex interaction between multiple muscle groups to be performed correctly. A small imbalance in strength, control or movement in any area can have a flow on affect impacting other areas.
The squat is a both a great exercise but also a useful assessment tool to highlight areas that may be putting you at risk of injury or holding you back from performing to your potential. For example, your squat technique may indicate that you have poor control of your core muscles. This predisposes you to injury during squatting as well as any other lifting or weighted movements, as well as in sustained postures during your daily activities, work or sport.
While it is best to have your technique assessed by a physiotherapist, there are some common mistakes you can assess and begin to correct yourself. This blog will discuss the two most common dysfunctions seen by physiotherapists and how to begin to correct these dysfunctions to correct squat technique.
Assessing your own squat is difficult, so use a mirror or get someone to observe you completing the movement.
This is best observed from the front. You may find you shift your weight more to one side throughout the squat movement. This increases the risk of overload and injury due to the imbalance of movement.
Unequal weight bearing can result from a number of dysfunctions, but is commonly it is caused by:
Weakness – If the shift occurs early in the movement, this indicates that it is more likely to be caused by weakness in the hip stabilising muscles, the gluteals. This causes a shift to the stronger leg, as your body compensates for the weaker side.
You can start correcting this by completing single leg strengthening exercises. This will highlight the weakness as well as allow you to improve stability and strength. Single leg exercises isolate the weaker side to avoid the stronger side compensating.
Decreased range of motion – If the shift occurs towards the bottom of the movement, it is more likely to be a result of reduced range of motion of the joints in the lower limb. With stiffness in joints, the body shifts to the side with more flexibility or movement available to complete the squat.
This is commonly a reduced range in the ankle, but can also be the knee or hip. Reduced ankle range can be a result of joint stiffness, which needs physiotherapy treatment to be corrected. You can start decrease the effect of short calf muscles on the joint by completing calf stretches.
Incorrect Spinal Posture
The position of the spine is best observed from the side. Throughout the squat movement, the spine should stay in it’s neutral position, from your lower back up to your neck. Commonly the upper back curves and the shoulders hunch forward, also resulting in a forward curving of the lower back. This can lead to a number of issues, including back pain, shoulder injury and tension headaches.
Loss of a neutral spine can result from a number of dysfunctions, but is commonly it is caused by:
Upper back stiffness – A stiffness through the upper back joints results it difficulty getting to and holding an upright posture.
Complete upper back mobility exercises on a roller to ensure that your spine has good movement available.
Upper back weakness – Weakness in the muscles that control posture, the shoulder blades and upper back results in difficulty holding correct posture, especially once weight is added.
Complete ‘pulling’ exercises, such as rows to improve upper back strength and shoulder blade control.
Poor core control – The position of the lower back has a significant impact on the overall spinal position in a squat. A lack of control and stability of the core and trunk muscles translates to a lack of control through the rest of the body.
Core exercises, such as planks, will assist to improve activation and control of trunk stabilising muscles.
While some of these dysfunctions are easy to fix, others are harder to assess and correct. A thorough physiotherapy assessment will identify dysfunctions and provide treatment and exercises to correct them, preventing injuries in the future.
If you notice any of the above during your squats, have pain during squatting, or need advice on any of the above please do not hesitate to book an appointment.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a popular exercise system developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s to improve strength, flexibility and stability of key muscles in the body. The focus is on correct core activation, isolation of stabilizing muscles and joint stability.
Who benefits from doing Pilates?
Pilates has commonly been stereotyped as only for women. However, all of us would benefit from doing regular Pilates. Everyone needs stability for maintaining good posture (especially those working in desk jobs!), preventing or managing injuries both acute and chronic, as well as improving performance in our chosen sport.
Research has found that Clinical Pilates is effective in reducing pain and disability in several musculoskeletal conditions including low back pain, neck pain and ankylosing spondylosis (a type of arthritis).
What is the difference between Clinical Pilates and Pilates at the gym?
Pilates classes at the gym, run by Pilates instructors, often have 20-25 clients and are a great source of global strengthening and superficial core work. Clinical Pilates classes are run by Physiotherapists for smaller numbers of clients, normally 5-6. This allows closer personalised attention to ensure correct technique and modification of exercises to tailor a program to an individual’s needs. Clinical Pilates is more beneficial for enhancing your deep core activation as well as better for managing specific injuries. If you are new to Pilates, it is recommended to start with a Clinical Pilates program.
What do we REALLY mean by activating your ‘core’?
The ‘core’ is complex. It involves two groups of muscles, one working to stabilise the spine while the other muscles create movement. It is these principles of core activation that underlie the core program in Clinical Pilates.
Why the diaphragm? The diaphragm not only controls our breathing but is directly involved in regulating our abdominal pressure. If we hold our breath, we increase the pressure in our abdomen, providing stabilisation for the lumbar spine. However, this is not practical, as we can’t hold our breath forever! Therefore, we must be able to activate our other deep core muscles to allow relaxed breathing.
Therefore, you may have the misconception that your core is strong because you do lots of ab work at the gym, which is not necessarily the case. The abs can be strong without the deeper core activating correctly, predisposing you to injury.
What do we do in Clinical Pilates at BeachLife Physio?
Our physios run private or two-on-one reformer classes, as well as small group mat work classes, with a maximum of five people.
A reformer is a piece of Pilates equipment that uses springs to provide resistance. The reformer can be used in many positions to work specific muscle groups as well as training the body to maintain a neutral position.
Mat classes mostly use body weight resistance in a wide variety of functional positions to target specific muscle groups. We use different pieces of equipment to further challenge stability and specific muscles. These classes focus on core activation, pelvic stability, posture and balance. It is more difficult to maintain neutral spine in mat work, and for this reason we recommend that beginners ad those with current pain start with reformer classes. Classes are tailored to your individual needs and an exercise program will be developed by a Physiotherapist to focus on YOU!
If you are interested in starting Pilates, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss what class options would suit you best.
Call us on 9970 7982, or alternatively book online at beachlifephysio.com.
Cruz-Díaz, D., Martínez-Amat, A., Osuna-Pérez, M.C., De la Torre-Cruz, M.J., Hita-Contreras F. (2016). Short- and long-term effects of a six-week clinical Pilates program in addition to physical therapy on postmenopausal women with chronic low back pain: a randomized controlled trial. Disability Rehabilitation, 38 (13):1300-8.
Rydeard, R., Leger, A. and Smith D. (2006). Pilates- Based Therapeutic Exercise: Effect on Subjects With Nonspecific Chronic Low Back Pain and Functional Disability: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 36(7):472-84.
Wells, C., Kolt, G., Marshall, P., Hill, B. and Bialocerkowski A. (2014). The Effectiveness of Pilates Exercise in People with Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review. PLOS One, 9(7).
Benefit: Low Impact
Walking and running on sand is lower impact than exercising on firm surfaces, which means less stress through weightbearing joints, such as the hips, knees and ankles. This decreases the risk of injuries caused by an overload of impact stresses, such as stress fractures, and is beneficial for people who need to limit the impact on their joints.
Risk: Injury Aggravation
Injuries and conditions where lower limb joints are unstable, such as ligament strains, may be aggravated by exercising on sand. In the long term many of these conditions will benefit from exercise on an unstable surface, but care must be taken to do the correct strengthening and balance exercises first to work up to the later stage of sand running.
Risk: Greater Fatigue
Exercising on sand will fatigue muscles faster. This may cause a loss of technique towards the end of the session, resulting in an increased risk injury. It is important to build up endurance by slowly increasing the load.
Take care to:
Slowly Increase Load
If this is a new type of exercise for you, slowly build up the time and distance you complete. Start with a short duration session, with mostly walking and a small amount of running, and then gradually build up endurance until you can run consistently.
Change Your Running Technique
Running on sand requires a change of technique to shorter and more frequent steps. Sand running requires more work and the pace is slower than on firm surfaces, so keep in mind that you won’t cover as much distance. When starting out with barefoot running, you will find muscles get sore in different areas, especially in the feet and ankles, as you move differently.
Select a Flat Beach
Some beaches are quite slanted. Running on an angle for a prolonged period causes uneven stresses on joints and may cause injury or pain. Select a level section of beach on which to complete your run or walk.
Look After Your Feet
Barefoot sand running and walking is great for strengthening muscles in the feet. However, most beaches are covered in debris such as shells, driftwood and unfortunately, rubbish. If running barefoot take care of where you step or select a clear section of beach.
If you want to start sand walking or running and need advice on any of the above please do not hesitate to book an appointment. Call us on 9970 7982, or alternatively book online at beachlifephysio.com.
Ferris, D.P., Liang, K., Farley, C.T. (1992). Runners adjust leg stiffness for their first step on a new running surface. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, vol. 65, iss. 2, pp. 183-7
Lejeune, T.M., Willems, P.A., Heglund, N.C (1998). Mechanics and Energetics of Human Locomotion on Sand. Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 201, pp. 2071-80.
Pinnington, H.C., Dawson, B. (2001). The energy cost of running on grass compared to soft dry beach sand. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, vol. 4, iss. 4, pp. 416-30.
Pinnington, H.C., Lloyd, D.G., Briser, T.F., Dawson, B. (2005). Kinematic and electromyography analysis of submaximal differences running on a firm surface compared with soft, dry sand. European Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 94, iss. 3, pp. 242-53.
As physiotherapists, we are often asked how to avoid joint replacement surgery, especially knee replacements. Although surgical procedures are improving in functional outcomes and longevity, they often still leave patients underwhelmed by the result. Many find that they are restricted in sports and activities they previously enjoyed.
This blog provides information to better understand the processes occurring within the knee that leads to a degenerative or arthritic condition and strategies to help delay or avoid a joint replacement.
What happens in the knee joint for a replacement to be required?
What can be done to avoid this?
A large portion of traumatic injuries are difficult to avoid due to the unpredictable nature of the environment in which they occur, such as a soccer game or skiing. However, the cause of gradual wear to the cartilage over a longer period primarily relates to the biomechanics at the knee joint.
What does this mean?
What can BeachLife Physiotherapy do to help?
Biomechnical Assessment - A thorough physiotherapy assessment will consider your individual biomechanics and what is causing these changes. This then allow us to provide you with an individualised treatment and exercise program.
Correct Muscle Tension - There are 4 major muscle groups acting at the knee. When they become tight, these muscles increase pressure within the joint. These are the gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. Stretching these muscle groups will relax and lengthen the muscle tissue and decrease tension at the joint.
Correct Muscular Weakness - The same muscle groups support the knee joint. The gluteal and deep hip stabilising muscles are important as these control stability and rotational movements at the knee, which has big implications for degeneration of knee cartilage. Adequate strength in all the surrounding muscle groups reduces the load on the joint and cartilage.
Correct Balance – Proprioception, or more simply ‘movement sense’ relates not to muscle strength but muscle coordination. It is the ability for muscles to activate and work together to maintain stability around a joint as you move.
Physiotherapy is most effective when used in conjunction with other lifestyle changes such as a regular routine of low impact exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a nutritious diet.
It is important that you seek advice if you notice any change in function or pain in your knees. If you are concerned about or need advice on any of the above please do not hesitate to call us to book an appointment on 9970 7982, or alternatively book online at beachlifephysio.com.
Imaging, such as X-ray, MRI and CTs can provide valuable information for diagnosing damage to soft tissue and bone. However, there are many reasons why imaging may not be the first step we take in managing your pain.
If you aren’t sent for imaging, we have considered a number of factors for your individual situation before making this decision. If you are concerned as to why, then just ask!
Most Importantly: Will it change treatment?
As physiotherapists, we treat the symptoms you present with and how you are moving, not just the diagnosis. In fact, the treatment for two people with the exact same diagnosis may be very different as we all compensate for pain in different ways. Therefore, if the exact size and location of damage or a tear won’t change your personalised treatment plan, you don’t require imaging.
Some conditions do need imaging before treatment. We are trained to look for symptoms or signs that indicate these may be present.
We consider all the factors below and think ‘is imaging really required?’
Irrelevance of Findings
Imaging often shows ‘degenerative changes’, which are a normal process of ageing and do not relate to the sensation of pain. Many imaging studies have shown a high presence of disc bulges and labral tears in people with no pain or symptoms!
Only 5% of all lower back pain is associated with a serious underlying pathology that requires diagnostic imaging and specific treatment. Consequently, 95% of people with low back pain do not require imaging.
Therefore, with certain conditions; it is likely that findings on your scans are coincidental, have been there for a long time and are not the cause of pain.
Anxiety and Poorer Outcomes
Knowing about the presence of ‘degenerative changes’ has been shown to increase anxiety and decrease the expectation of your ability to get better. It results in the patient worrying about the ‘damage’ and the potential to harm themselves further. This is way of thinking is harmful and results in poorer outcomes!
Imaging may lead to a misdiagnosis
Using the lower back as an example again, if a disc bulge is found, it could be associated with your pain. However, many factors affect back pain and the cause could be something entirely different, such as changes in pelvic joint movement or muscle recruitment patterns. Unlike a disc bulge, these are not visible on imaging, but can be found with a thorough physiotherapy assessment and be treated accordingly.
Imaging is Expensive
A patient will pay $100-500 per MRI scan. Imaging is expensive not only to you as a patient, but for the healthcare system as a whole. If it’s not required, we don’t want to waste valuable resources.
X-rays and CT scans send radiation waves through the body. While the doses for medical imaging are relatively low, radiation is harmful for the body and risks increase with repeated exposure. Studies have shown an increased risk of cancer with repeated low doses of radiation. This is especially a concern for children, pregnant women and those of reproductive ages.
Correct Rehabilitation has Good Outcomes!
Imaging is often used to look further into an injury that is not responding to physiotherapy and may require more invasive treatments, such as surgery or an injection. Surgeons often recommend 3-6 months of physiotherapy before considering operating. They understand that surgery should be the LAST option. Many injuries can be rehabilitated successfully with physiotherapy and exercise, allowing us to return to the sports and activities we enjoy!
Physiotherapy can either postpone or avoid surgery entirely, which is important, as all surgeries carry risks. If surgery is eventually required, then the treatment and exercise completed isn’t a waste of time as it significantly improves post-operative outcomes.
Only after all these factors are considered will we decide if it is appropriate to refer you for imaging. As physiotherapists we can refer you for imaging and have direct contact with providers to ensure you get the correct imaging and results are passed onto you as soon as possible.
If you are concerned about or need advice on any of the above please do not hesitate to call us to book an appointment on 9970 7982, or alternatively book online.
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Most running injuries (50-75%) can be attributed to overuse due to the repetitive movements involved in running. The most common conditions reported in runners are patellofemoral pain and plantar fasciitis. In this blog we will describe some of the common causes of pain in runners and strategies to prevent them.
Patellofemoral pain also known as “runners knee” is characterized by irritation and inflammation of the underside of the patella. The pain is usually felt when running, long periods of sitting and when walking downstairs or downhill. Patellofemoral pain in runners can be caused by incorrect tracking of the knee cap over the knee joint. This can be due to weakness in the quadriceps or the gluteus medius muscles.
Iliotibial band (ITB) friction syndrome is sometimes associated with patellofemoral pain. This pain will also be worst with downhill walking and running or going down stairs. The ITB is a band of connective tissue which runs down the outside of the thigh. With repeated bending and straightening of the knee as we run, there can be an increase in the friction between the ITB and other structures on the outside of the knee, causing pain. This is often a result of poor running technique and strength imbalances, particularly weakness in hip stabilizers.
Plantar fasciitis is caused by a failure of the connective tissue on the sole of the foot, called the ‘plantar fascia’, to support the weight of the body during loading. There is excessive pulling on the fascia which runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. Runners who have ‘flat feet’ or high arches are at risk of developing plantar fasciitis due to increased strain on the fascia. Other associated factors include tightness in calf, hamstring and gluteal muscles. The onset of pain is usually gradual over the heel, and can feel like walking on glass when the pain is extreme.
Achilles tendinopathy is caused by overload and tightness in the calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus, resulting in irritation and inflammation of the achilles tendon. Pain can be felt with contraction or stretch of the muscle and it is often more painful in the morning or after cooling down from exercise.
Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome, is an inflammatory condition effecting the front section of the tibia (shin bone). The symptoms will often worsen following exercise and ease with warming up. The pain gradually increases over time and becomes more frequent. There has been some debate surrounding the causes. Factors including flat feet, poor technique, fatigue, muscle dysfunction and reduced flexibility have been found in patients with shin splints.
The above are only SOME of the diagnoses that could relate to you. If you have ongoing pain that has not settled with rest, come in for a thorough physiotherapy assessment.
What can you do to prevent these injuries?
What can BeachLife Physiotherapy do?
As part of your physiotherapy assessment, we assess your running technique and diagnose your injury. Treatment will include hands on therapy, exercise prescription to improve muscle function and a graded rehabilitation program to ensure a safe return to running.
Don’t let your pain hold you back, come in for a physiotherapy assessment to get you running pain free! Call us to book an appointment on 9970 7982, or book online.
Brukner, P., Kahn, K. (2009) Clinical Sports Medicine eds (3th edn). McGraw-Hill, North Ryde Australia.
Kozinc, Z. and Sarabon, N. (2017) Common Running Overuse Injuries and Prevention, Monten. J. Sports Sci. Med., 6(2) 67-74
Lopes, A., Hespanhol Jnr, L., Yeung, S. and Pena Costa, L. (2012) What are the Main Running-Related Musculoskeletal Injuries? A Systematic Review, Sports Medinice, 42(10) 891-905.
As physiotherapists, we recommend self-releasing and rolling tight muscles to decrease post exercise soreness, muscle tension, and improve mobility. The recent focus of several articles in the health and fitness press, is that rolling and self-releasing is bad for you!
Just to clarify; self-releasing is not bad for you! However, the point that these articles are making is that persistent tightness in an area means something is not working as it should or an area is moving incorrectly! Rolling is simply a quick fix, a band-aid. It does not address the underlying problem. When someone is experiencing ongoing tightness, a physiotherapy assessment will find the dysfunction in body mechanics and determine the cause i.e. weakness, decreased range of motion, poor coordination or poor technique.
“Rolling is simply a quick fix, a band-aid.
It does not address the underlying problem.”
Let’s use the iliotibial band (ITB) as an example. The ITB is a connective tissue structure that runs down the outer thigh from the side of the hip to the outside of the knee. Tension in this tissue and surrounding muscles can cause pain and injuries in the hip and knee. This is common in sports with repetitive leg movements such as running and cycling. Releasing and rolling the ITB and surrounding muscles is commonly completed to ease tension, and therefore reduce pain. There are many reasons why this region can become tight; such as weakness or tightness in the hip stabilising muscles, poor technique or poor equipment set up. Therefore, releasing the ITB may temporarily ease the pain but will not correct the problem!
“Self-release is a useful technique used in combination with a
comprehensive rehabilitation program”
In summary, rolling is NOT BAD for you! Self-release is a useful technique but must be used in combination with a comprehensive rehabilitation program to resolve the injury.
On a side note, many articles also state that rolling the ITB is ineffective as the structure is a non-contractile connective tissue (unlike a muscle that contracts and shortens). However, there are other benefits to rolling. These include stretching of the fascia (connective tissue overlying the ITB), releasing the muscles around the ITB and creating changes in pain responses. If rolling the ITB is found to improve mobility and decrease pain, we recommend it is used as a self-management technique in COMBINATION with a full rehabilitation program.
If you have an area of persistent tightness and tension that needs regular releasing, seek advice sooner rather than later! Get a physiotherapy assessment and comprehensive rehabilitation program to decrease pain, prevent future injury and keep you doing what you love! Please do not hesitate to call us to book an appointment on 9970 7982, or alternatively book online.
Brukner, P., Kahn, K. (eds) Clinical Sports Medicine (3th edn) 2009. McGraw-Hill, North Ryde, Australia.
Cheatham, S. W., Kolber, M. J., Cain, M., Lee, M. 2015. The effects of self‐myofascial release using a foam roll or roller massager on joint range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance: a systematic review, Int J Sports Phys Ther, vol. 10, iss. 6, pp. 827-838.
MacDonald, G.Z., Penney, M. D. H., Mullaley, M. E., Cuconato, A. L., Drake, C. D..J., Behm, D. G., Button, D. C. 2013. An Acute Bout of Self-Myofascial Release Increases Range of Motion Without a Subsequent Decrease in Muscle Activation or Force. J of Strength & Cond Res, vol. 27, iss. 3, pp. 812-821.